Daily Fantasy NASCAR – Beginners Strategy Guide

Greetings, and welcome to NASCAR basics by Nillyjay!  This guide is focused on explaining how NASCAR DFS works at the base level.  While it’s meant for people who have not played this sport before, this can also serve as a refresher for those that have.  Also, consider getting a DFS Army VIP Membership and gain access to the NASCAR Research Station and the Domination Station Lineup Optimizer with our best in the industry projections! Let’s get to it!

General overview

NASCAR is played on DraftKings using a similar structure to their other sports.  You select 6 drivers with a salary cap of $50,000.  There are generally around 40 drivers to choose from, and they break down into a few different price points:

  • $10k+ – elite drivers
  • $8k to $10k – high tier drivers
  • $7.5k to $8k – middle-tier drivers
  • $5.5k to $7.5k – low/middle tier drivers
  • $5.5k and below – bottom-tier drivers

(see the glossary for more information)

Driver salaries are usually available midweek.  They typically reflect their recent performances as well as their history at the upcoming track.

Scoring overview

There are four ways drivers can earn DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP).  The first two are awarded to whichever driver is scored as leading a lap (+0.25) or completing a lap the fastest (+0.5).

Place differential is the position a driver is in compared to where they started.  They will gain/lose one (+/- 1.0) DKFP every time they pass or are passed by another driver, and this will finalize upon the race ending.  This can cause drivers to have a negative score.

Finally, a driver’s finishing position is scored.  First place is awarded +46 points, and this moves all the way down to +4 points for last place.  Like place differential, this is not set until the race is finished and a driver’s points will go up and down throughout the race depending on what place the driver is in.

Race schedule

Races are held on weekends.  The exact day and starting time varies week to week depending on the track’s schedule.  This information can be found on either the track’s or NASCAR’s website.  Always be aware of the schedule so you have your lineups finished on time! 

Drivers are given time for practice and qualifying, which is also dependant on the track’s schedule.  Practice can be before or after qualifying (and sometimes both).  Qualifying determines the position at which each driver will start the race.

General Q&A

-Are cash games safe for NASCAR DFS?

Yes, but with the right approach. I recommend treating them like MLB/NHL.  Ladders and proper bankroll management are crucial to long-term success.

-How many points do I need to win?

This is going to change every week depending on the track and how the drivers perform, so there is no exact number to shoot for.

-What happens if a race is postponed/ canceled?

See DraftKing’s rules about that HERE (at the bottom).

-Is there late swap like in other sports?

No.  As soon as the contests begin on DraftKings, everything is locked – even if the race doesn’t start on time.

-What happens if a driver is moved to the back of the field?

There are two scenarios for when this occurs;

  1. If a team decides to make a change to their car after qualifying (example: they change to a set of new tires or use a backup car), they will have to start the race at the back of the field. However, their original qualifying position will still be used for scoring purposes.
  2. If a qualifying time is disallowed by NASCAR (example: they fail post-qualifying inspection), it will be voided. They will start from the back of the field, but they will also be scored as if they qualified last.

The difference between the two is that in scenario 1, the team decided to make a change to the car.  In scenario 2, a penalty was issued by NASCAR.

-What happens if a driver is swapped out for a different one?

If this happens BEFORE the race starts, that driver will receive zero DKFP.  If this happens AFTER the race starts, the original driver will be credited for DKFP earned by both them AND the substitute driver.

Glossary/Terms

Dominator: A driver that leads a significant amount of laps.

Elite/high tier: These drivers are generally the primary source of DKFP.  Lead/fastest laps and a high finishing position are expected to justify their salary.

Value play: Low/medium-priced drivers.  They are a secondary source of DKFP from place differential and/or a good finishing position, but they can sometimes earn lead/fastest laps.

Scrubs/punts: The cheap, bottom tier drivers.  They are usually selected to fit in more of the drivers listed above and generally don’t offer much DKFP production.  They can sometimes return extra value with place differential/finishing position, but will rarely have any lead/fastest laps.

Caution/yellow flags: These happen when there is a mishap on the track (wreck, debris, etc) or when a predetermined “competition caution” occurs.  The race is “soft paused” for a few laps as the drivers follow the pace car at low speeds, but the race is still live so whichever driver is in first will earn DKFP for lead laps.  However, no points are earned for fastest laps.

Red flag: This happens when there is a more significant unsafe condition (big wreck, spilled fluids, etc) present on the track.  The field (all active cars in the race) is frozen until the situation is handled.  This is followed by a yellow flag before the race resumes.

Lead lap/laps down: When the first place driver passes the last place car, they get “lapped” and go a lap down.  This can happen all the way until the second place car is lapped.  All cars that have not been lapped by the first place car are on the “lead lap.”

Lucky dog: Whenever a caution happens, the highest placed driver (that is not on the lead lap) will get a lap back.

Penalties: Most penalties require the driver to make an unscheduled pit stop.  This may cause them get lapped  Drivers do not directly lose DKFP for being penalized by NASCAR, but may fall to a lower position in the field.

That about covers the basics of NASCAR DFS and should get you started. Up next we have the Intermediate NASCAR Guide. Consider joining the DFS Army and gain access to the NASCAR Research Station and the Domination Station Lineup Optimizer with our best in the industry projections! You will also have access to our VIP Slack Chat where you can chat with me, our Coaches/Pros, and other likeminded DFS enthusiasts! You get access to all sports for one low price. Sign up here!